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Hate the taste of certain vegetables? It could be in your genes…

14/11/2019

New research suggests that some people have an inherent dislike of certain vegetables. According to the study by Dr Jennifer Smith and colleagues from the University of Kentucky School of Medicine, inheriting two copies of the unpleasant taste gene provides a "ruin-your-day level of bitterness" to foods such as broccoli and sprouts. The research could explain why some people find it really difficult to include certain vegetables in their diets. The team’s findings could also provide some explanation as to why beer, coffee and dark chocolate taste unpleasant to some people. Everyone inherits two copies of a taste gene called TAS2R38, which basically allows us to taste bitterness. However, people can inherit different variants. People who inherit a variant called AVI aren't sensitive at all to bitter tastes. Those who inherit one copy of AVI and another called PAV do experience bitter tastes, but not to extremes. That super-sensitivity for bitter foods is found in people who inherit two copies of the PAV variant - often called "super-tasters". Of the 175 people studied, those with two copies of the bitter taste PAV gene variant ate only small amounts of leafy green vegetables. Speaking to medics at a meeting of the American Heart Association, Dr Smith said: “You have to consider how things taste if you really want your patient to follow nutrition guidelines”.

Consuming flavonoids lowers risk of cancer, increases lifespan

20/08/2019

It’s widely accepted that eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial to a person’s health. But now a new study has firmly and scientifically concluded that eating foods that are rich in flavonoids (like fruits and vegetables) could stave off disease and extend life. According to research by a group of scientists from Edith Cowan University, Australia, people who eat 500mg of flavonoids every day have the lowest risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease-related deaths. So how much do you need to eat to reap these benefits? Well, the scientists say it is important to get the flavonoids from a variety of sources. They say someone can achieve the 500mg of total flavonoids by consuming one cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 100g of blueberries and 100g of broccoli. Interestingly, the study of more than 50,000 adults found that the benefits of consuming 500mg of flavonoids daily were most pronounced in people who smoke and drink more than two alcoholic beverages every day. However, the scientists were quick to point out that consuming flavonoids does not enough to undo the harmful effects of smoking and high alcohol consumption. The study also found that consuming more than 500mg of flavonoids daily was not associated with any additional benefits. The paper appears in the journal Natural Communications.  

Cruciferous vegetables can help prevent bowel cancer

16/08/2018

It’s a widely accepted fact that cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, are good for the gut, but scientists say they have now discovered why. The work by the team from the Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre in London, focussed on the way cruciferous vegetables alter the lining of the intestines. As they are digested, anti-cancer chemicals, including indole-3-carbinol, are produced. Indole-3-carbinol changes the behaviour of stem cells in the lower bowel and the study involving mice showed it protected them from cancer – even mice whose genes put them at a very high risk of developing the disease. Speaking about the findings of the study, one of the researchers, Dr Gitta Stockinger, said: “Even when the mice started developing tumours and we switched them to the appropriate diet, it halted tumour progression.” Prof Tim Key, from Cancer Research UK, said: “Further studies will help find out whether the molecules in these vegetables have the same effect in people, but in the meantime there are already plenty of good reasons to eat more vegetables.” Interestingly, Dr Stockinger added that cruciferous vegetables should not be overcooked to get the most benefit. According to the charity Bowel Cancer UK, bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, affecting almost 42,000 people every year.

Top 5 Foods to Aid Recovery After Surgery

19/08/2014

Any type of surgery, whether minimally invasive or more drastic in nature, will leave your body needing a certain period of time to recover. And during this recovery period it is important that you take good care of your wounds by changing dressings where necessary and taking any medication prescribed as part of your post-surgery care. However, many people don’t realise that the foods you eat following surgery can also have a significant effect on your recovery. Here are 5 top foods that should definitely be part of your post-surgery diet: High fibre foods Foods that are high in fibre aren’t just healthy but they also help to prevent constipation. Eat whole grain cereals, bread, fruits and vegetables to aid your recovery. Lean protein Protein is the building block of muscles and it’s therefore important to get a decent supply following surgery. Choose turkey, pork and chicken if you’re a meat eater or tofu, soy and beans if you’re not. Fresh fruit and vegetables As well as being a great source of fibre, fruit and vegetables contain key vitamins and minerals, plus immune boosting antioxidants. Consume dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach. Low-fat dairy products Some people may advise against dairy products because of their tendency to sometimes cause constipation. This shouldn’t be an issue, however, if you’re eating lots of fibre too. The high levels of calcium and protein make dairy products great additions during your recovery period. Low-fat yogurts and cottage cheese are the order of the day. High-calorie foods That’s right, while the dieting world is telling us to consume less calories, the opposite is true following surgery. After all, your body is healing and needs all the energy it can get. A well-balanced diet is the key to a speedy recovery. And what better place to recover and eat yourself healthy than in a country famed for its cuisine like France. Photo Credit: Flickr

Foods that heal: optimise your nutrition following surgery

03/07/2014

Many people follow strict eating regimes before any surgery, be it minor or major. However, few people realise that what you eat after surgery is just as important. This is because surgery is a major trauma on our bodies and as such, they have to significantly repair themselves following any surgical procedure. This is why it’s vital that you give your body everything it needs during this crucial healing stage. Many people think that because they will inevitably be inactive following surgery they should reduce their calorie intake. The opposite, however, is often true and post-surgery patients need additional essential calories and nutrients to facilitate the reparation process. Protein It’s important that you follow a balanced diet after surgery, but one of the key components of this has to be protein. Muscles are often damaged or disturbed during surgery and need protein in order to heal. That’s why it’s important to fill your diet with foods like poultry, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, cheese, beans and nuts. Alternatively, you can use protein supplements to boost your intake and aid the muscle healing process. Vitamins Furthermore, there are a number of vitamins that are vital for the healing process. For example, vitamin C aids in soft tissue repair and vitamin E is important in antioxidant defence. Some individuals may be prescribed vitamin supplements by their medical professional, but the best source, of course, is from food. Almonds, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds and plant oils are all loaded with vitamin E, while strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and bell peppers contain high levels of vitamin C. Whatever your surgery, it’s important that you don’t shy away from food. The surgeons have done their bit and now it’s time for you to do yours. Photo credit: © NOBU - Fotolia.com

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